2017-07-13 / Front Page

Repeat probation perpetrator sentenced to prison time

By Cindy Centofanti
Staff Writer • ccentofanti@mihomepaper.com

Michael Weiderhold Jr Michael Weiderhold Jr BAD AXE - A 31-year-old Elkton man who violated probation while on work release was penalized with a minimum three-year stretch in the state penitentiary.

Michael J. Weiderhold Jr. received a sentence Monday that exceeded the recommended guidelines after repeatedly violating the terms of his probation and snubbing a chance for rehabilitation.

Huron County Circuit Judge Gerald M. Prill showed frustration with Weiderhold’s flagrant disregard for court orders.

Weiderhold previously appeared before the court on June 19, when he admitted his guilt for two counts of probation violation, alcohol possession and having contact with his victim, which was part of a plea agreement. In exchange for his guilty plea, charges of prescription fraud and domestic violence were dismissed. At that time, Prill said he would allow Weiderhold to attend a military-style boot camp instead of jail, but Weiderhold failed to take advantage of the opportunity.

In a tearful statement prior to the sentencing, Weiderhold told the court and the gallery he was sorry for his actions and that he has remained clean for 605 days clean in order to maintain a healthy relationship with his three children.

“I’m raising my children to be more successful than myself,” Weiderhold wept regretfully.

Prosecuting Attorney Timothy J. Rutkowski reflected upon the defendant’s three previous felonies and slew of misdemeanors and said many of those stemmed from domestic violence convictions. He said threats were made to the victim, in which Weiderhold threatened to kill her dog, himself and the victim.

Rutkowski noted that, originally, Weiderhold was charged with more serious crimes, but as a part of an agreement with prosecutors in exchange for a guilty plea, the charges were reduced to possession of alcohol and contact with the victim. As a result, Rutkowski recommended a 20-year prison sentence to keep the public and victim safe from Weiderhold’s aggressive demeanor.

Defense attorney Elizabeth Weisenbach argued video evidence obtained from security footage from Shell Gas Station in Bad Axe indicated Weiderhold was not demonstrating overly aggressive behavior. The footage, Weisenbach said, proves only that Weiderhold and the victim purchased alcohol, not that the victim was under duress. She also said the victim was “telling tall tales” in order to protect herself.

Rutkowski said Weiderhold’s past convictions prove his propensity for aggressive behavior and violence toward his victim, who, he said, appeared in court with a black eye.

Prill took all sides into consideration before deciding that, ultimately, Weiderhold, who was on work release while serving a jail sentence for violating probation for a 2015 drug-related conviction, “blew it.”

“You have a complete lack of respect for the judicial system and now you have to pay the piper,” Prill said. “Now you have to pay the piper, it’s too late to talk about your poor children. You are going to prison, sir.”

As a result, Prill exceeded the recommendations and ordered Weiderhold to be placed in prison three to 20 years, with credit for 402 days already served. In addition, monetary obligations previously ordered remain owing.

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